The INSIDER daily digest -- Aug. 30, 2023

By John Liang / August 30, 2023 at 1:37 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has more news on the Pentagon's Replicator program, the Army seeking a soft kill, electronic warfare system to protect tactical vehicles from incoming projectiles and more.

Defense Department acquisition chief Bill LaPlante said this week that "scale" is the most important aspect of the Replicator program and one the Pentagon has long chased concerning emerging technologies:

Pentagon officials 'cagey' but still talking up Replicator as the next 'big bet'

The Pentagon this week revealed what some drone manufacturers hope is a game-changing moment with the announcement of the new "Replicator" program and top defense officials, though reluctant to provide details, say the decision to award contracts in the next 18 to 24 months for thousands of small, autonomous weapon systems signals a major milestone in the mission to counter China's massive military.

In a request for information issued this week, the Army Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems announces its intent to "collect data and information on existing" soft kill and active protection systems:

Army looking for existing 'soft kill' EW vehicle protection system

The Army is seeking information from industrial manufacturers to develop a soft kill, electronic warfare system to protect tactical vehicles from incoming projectiles, according to a public announcement.

A senior Navy official this week underscored the work underway to field promising technologies while keeping a focus on management and sustainment of legacy systems:

Navy emphasizes logistics readiness in a combat environment

The Navy is optimized for a peacetime-efficient force but now needs to be ready to support the warfighter in conflict, Erica Plath, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for sustainment, said at a conference Tuesday on emerging defense technologies.

Some Navy unmanned systems news:

UAS platforms can travel farther, faster and with bigger payloads

Unmanned aerial systems increasingly have longer battery life -- traveling faster and farther with bigger payloads.

The Pentagon's research and engineering chief will meet next month with Australian officials to talk about missile defense:

Shyu to huddle with Australians over missile defense integration, AUKUS tech transfer

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu said today that Australian military officials will be meeting with her in September to discuss possibilities for air and missile defense integration.